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Event Coverage Drag Racing was Great in '58

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Jive-Bomber, May 8, 2018.

  1. Jive-Bomber
    Joined: Aug 21, 2001
    Posts: 3,083


    Jive-Bomber submitted a new blog post:

    Drag Racing was Great in '58

    Continue reading the Original Blog Post
    Last edited: May 15, 2018
  2. Great video Jive-Bomber! I grew up in So Cal in the 50's/60's and the local drag strip was as much a part of our social life as the drive-ins, the beach or any of the other hang outs! Although I never made it out to Lions, it was a little to far from where I grew up, I did frequent Irwindale, Fontana and Pomona and I suspect they were much the same as Lions.
    It seemed as though I had walked through some kind of time tunnel, the first time that I went to the H.a.m.b. Drags. The noise, the smells took me right back to the 60's, although I don't remember all the grey hair!
    Deuces and Jive-Bomber like this.
  3. Big Plan Dan
    Joined: Sep 16, 2015
    Posts: 129

    Big Plan Dan

    Wow! Thanks for a great video! I've never seen a race that begins with a lap around the car. That was great entertainment in that day! It is very interesting to see the early Lions drag strip that sided to a vacant field with no bleachers between it and the strip. Every time I see an old drag racing film like this, I have to wonder how many of the cars still survive, where they are, and if they are basically barners waiting to be found. I can only hope that some lucky bastard has that #23 '34 coupe!
    Jive-Bomber likes this.
  4. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 2,613


    1958 Lions Dragstrip entrance

    Nice old Lions Dragstrip film, JB. The origin of the film is still unknown as it is a very early film. I like old drag racing films, a trait from my early years of wandering around Lions Dragstrip from late 57 until I started filming from 58-60/64 with a borrowed camera. The innovations and early racers went on to bigger thing as they had more success in these years.

    Lions was one of the earliest dragstrips, centrally located and the everyday, moist air of the afternoon ocean breezes made for an unusual place. While it was t-shirts and jeans at Santa Ana, Pomona and other inland dragstrips, it might be t-shirts and jeans at Lions, but that cool wind in the afternoon and evening made us all wear jackets most of the day.

    The “moist air” had tons of folklore as far as setting speed and E.T. records vs the inland dragstrips. But, it was the ability of the top notch mechanics, drivers, and builders that made the records. The latest innovations were created in the backyards, hot rod shops, drag racing camshaft companies and the many speed shops all over So Cal. Lions was the place to show the latest and have fun trying to win your class. Notoriety comes with the victories and racer’s lore.

    In the movie, many cars are identifiable: the Rakers Car Club Competition Coupe, the Drifters #23, white chopped 34 coupe, Tapia Bros low slung SBC D/Dragster, early Eldon Dye Comp Coupe, and what looks like early Glen Stokey 671 hemi FED.

    Even the Le Mans half time intermission had the local fast stock class racers, the 58 Biscayne was the usual class winner even the black supercharged Ford won the class there. But, the same flamed, 58 Biscayne is racing none other than Bones Balough in his record setting 49 Chevy fastback sedan. What people won’t do for free tickets and prize money. Ha! They were both fan favorites and also record setters back then.

    The rumor and recollection was the black 57 Chevy Bel Air was local Long Beach racer, Tom McEwen in one of his Chevy stock? (ha ha) cars. (He had a succession of 55, 56, and 57 Chevy Bel Air cars that were all fast and unbeatable… so the lore goes..)

    It was all fun and games along with new stuff to try out at the Dragstrip. Lions just happen to be close to just about everyone in So Cal.


    Some of the other identifiable race cars were: Cook-McCartney 17c chopped coupe, and possibly, Lefty Mudersbach’s twin SBC race car. Any others that could be identified?

    My contribution to the 1958 Lions film section:

    1958 Lions Dragstrip entrance and a black 58 Impala.

    Taken from Wardlow Rd. that turned into 223 St. in front of the Lions entrance. The film could have been any weekend from late 57 (brand new impala) to 1960, but underneath the Impala does not show the two 348 exhaust cut out caps we had installed in early 1959.

    So, it has to be 1958. This entrance film could be used in just about any film showing Lions Dragstrip, in any year. That place was home to many So Cal racers through out the years until 1972. What a place and great memories. Even as a little kid trudging through the farmer's plowed fields East of the dragstrip, to get a close up view from the return road.

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  5. @Jive-Bomber Jay -

    Great video! ... Thanks for sharing! ... I'm just not sure about the video editor's choice for the soundtrack (i.e., using circa '62-'63 Beach Boys songs behind circa 1958 drag strip footage).

    PS: There's more 2018 H.A.M.B. Drags "inspiration" in my The 1958 NHRA Nationals thread.
    Last edited: May 8, 2018
    Rolleiflex likes this.
  6. chevy57dude
    Joined: Dec 10, 2007
    Posts: 4,352


    So many whitewalls going down the 1/4 mile!
    Totally dig the foot race starts, the drivers probably didn't buckle up any seat belts. What a time.
  7. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 2,613


    Hey C,
    The same guys were still at it in early 1959 at Lions. This gave the spectators and racers something to do between the eliminations and the finals. This "halftime" entertainment was a big fan favorite. That 58 Chevy Biscayne was one of the quickest "stock bodied" cars at Lions during this time period.

    I filmed this race from the crowded spectator's side (bleachers) of the dragstrip.

    That 59 Impala was one of the first, big 348 hp motors...a 320/335 hp version. I would have to go deeper into my files to see what that guy's name was from back then. But, he was a consistent winner in the A/Stock class.

    It was a fun time back in 58-60. Stock cars jammed the staging lanes, sports cars whipped off their hub caps and raced. The older coupes and sedans still had Flatheads, but the fast approaching SBC era was starting. Sad to say, the Flatheads were being slowly fazed out of the coupes/sedans classes. There were still a few racers/race cars with Flatheads, but it was so easy to put in a new SBC for more power.
    Jive-Bomber and chevy57dude like this.
  8. Marty Strode
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 3,551

    Marty Strode

    Stock Class didn't require seat belts until 1962 !
    chevy57dude and jnaki like this.

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